Natalie Portman has been living in France since 2014, when her husband, acclaimed dancer-choreographer Benjamin Millepied, received an appointment as the Paris Opera Ballet’s director of dance. When Portman and Millepied took their family, which includes 5-year-old son Aleph, to France two years ago, it seemed like the right move and Natalie was looking forward to the experience, but she now reveals that living in France wasn’t the culturally enlightening experience she had anticipated it to be. Ms. Portman shares feeling elated by her first interactions with the people of Los Angeles, upon returning to the United States, and shares her hopes for a brighter life back on this side of the world.
A Tale Of Love And Darkness Director Natalie Portman Says People In Los Angeles Are Much Friendlier
Living in France wasn’t the passionate, romantic experience Natalie expected it to be, reports Belfast Telegraph in covering Portman’s interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live. The actress turned director reveals that daily life in the city of love was anything but relaxed with a whole list of social norms to be obeyed, lest she should offend her Parisian neighbors. Portman describes the people of Paris as “cool,” though it becomes clear that the word is not intended as a compliment.
“A friend of mine taught me that when you go in some place you have to say ‘bonjour’ before you say anything else, then you have to wait two seconds before you say something else,” reveals Portman in trying to explain just how well-ordered daily life is in France.
“So if you go into a store you can’t be like, ‘Do you have this in another size?’ or they’ll think you’re super rude and then they’ll be rude to you,” adds Natalie.
Ms. Portman says she never realized just how friendly people in the U.S. are until she returned to Los Angeles from living abroad and was met with so many smiling faces. She says seeing people smile at Aleph gave her such a thrill and made her feel that people in L.A. really are genuinely good people.
The Reason Natalie Portman Won’t Let Aleph Watch Star Wars
Every little boy knows about Star Wars, even before they see the films, but as Movie Fone shares, Natalie Portman hasn’t allowed her own son to watch the prequel trilogy yet. In fact, Aleph may not see those particular films for quite some time. Natalie reveals that showing the Star Wars movies to her boy would create an awkward situation, near the end of 2005’s Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.
“It’s kind of a shame, because when I made it I was like, ‘This is going to be the coolest thing one day when I have kids, I can show them.’ And boys, of course, are obsessed with it and know all about it before they’ve seen it,” Portman told Jimmy Kimmel. “Then I realized, I die in the movies. So I feel like it’s kind of a scary thing to show your kid.”
At age 5, Aleph really may be too young to grasp the concept that mommy dying on the screen is all just make believe, so Portman is probably wise to spare her son that particular trauma. Of course, after two years living among the “cool” and jaded people of France, maybe Portman’s son is just stoic enough to handle the scene without feeling torn up over Natalie’s violent death.
“It’s bad if it scares him; it’s worse if he likes it,” remarked Kimmel on the subject.
Natalie Portman will next be starring in the Rebecca Zlotowski fantasy/mystery Planetarium, alongside Lily-Rose Depp and Emmanuel Salinger. The film is scheduled for a November 16 theatrical release.
[Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images]